- “Listening Volunteering” in Fukushima
Volunteer Group SOYOKAZE TODOKETAI
Four years after the disaster “Listening Volunteering”
Even three years after the disaster, over 80,000 people in Fukushima live in temporary housing.
On top of living in cramped housing, changes in their living environment due to relocation have brought feelings of anxiety, stress, and loneliness to many of the residents.
The group “SOYOKAZE TODOKETAI” regularly visits these temporary housing sites and holds “listening volunteering.”
“Listening volunteering” is when you become a sympathetic listener
and help the speaker release some of the strain in their hearts.
1.5 years have passed since these activities have started, but at first many didn’t understand their approach, subjects were brought up that the speakers didn’t want to talk about, and it looked difficult to even continue their volunteer activities.
“Are we forcing these people to talk to us?” was something many members worried about.
But now, letters asking “when will you visit again?” arrive from Fukushima.
Their joy comes from seeing the residents of the temporary housing enjoying themselves.
“Listening volunteering” is slowing helping to open the hearts of Fukushima.